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  1. Values, Preferences, Meaningful Choice.Joe Edelman - manuscript
    Many fields (social choice, welfare economics, recommender systems) assume people express what benefits them via their 'revealed preferences'. Revealed preferences have well-documented problems when used this way, but are hard to displace in these fields because, as an information source, they are simple, universally applicable, robust, and high-resolution. In order to compete, other information sources (about participants' values, capabilities and functionings, etc) would need to match this. I present a conception of values as *attention policies resulting from constitutive judgements*, and (...)
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  2. Can I Get A Little Less Satisfaction, Please?Michael Plant - manuscript
    While life satisfaction theories (LSTs) of well-being are barely discussed in philosophy, they are popular among social scientists and wider society. When philosophers have discussed LSTs, they are taken to be a distinct alternative to the three canonical accounts of well-being—hedonism, desire theories, the objective list. This essay makes three main claims. First, on closer inspection, LSTs are indistinguishable from a type of desire theory—the global desire theory. Second, the life satisfaction/global desire theories are the only subjectivist accounts of well-being (...)
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  3. Structuring Wellbeing.Christopher Frugé - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Many questions about wellbeing involve metaphysical dependence. Does wellbeing depend on minds? Is wellbeing determined by distinct sorts of things? Is it determined differently for different subjects? However, we should distinguish two axes of dependence. First, there are the grounds that generate value. Second, there are the connections between the grounds and value which make it so that those grounds generate that value. Given these distinct axes of dependence, there are distinct dimensions to questions about the dependence of wellbeing. In (...)
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  4. Mood and Wellbeing.Uriah Kriegel - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    The two main subjectivist accounts of wellbeing, hedonism and desire-satisfactionism, focus on pleasure and desire (respectively) as the subjective states relevant to evaluating the goodness of a life. In this paper, I argue that another type of subjective state, mood, is much more central to wellbeing. After a general characterization of some central features of mood (§1), I argue that the folk concept of happiness construes it in terms of preponderance of good mood (§2). I then leverage this connection between (...)
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  5. Posthumous Repugnancy.Benjamin Kultgen - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    I argue that the possibility of posthumous harm ought to be rejected. My argument centers on a kind of repugnancy case involving posthumous harm. Supposing the existence of posthumous harm, a person whose wellbeing was extremely high while she was alive could incur small posthumous harms over a long enough period such that it is true of that person that she had a life not worth living. I respond to various objections and in the end conclude that rejecting posthumous harm (...)
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  6. Education and Well-Being: Beyond Desire Satisfaction.R. Marples - forthcoming - Philosophy of Education: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society.
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  7. Practical Wisdom, Well‐Being, and Success.Cheng-Hung Tsai - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:1-17.
    What is practical wisdom? What does a practically wise person know? It is widely held that a person is practically wise if and only if the person knows how to live well, and that a person knows how to live well only if the person knows what is good or important for well‐being. The question is: What is it that contributes to or constitutes well‐being known by a wise person? A theory of wisdom without a substantive answer to this question (...)
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  8. Happiness and Desire Satisfaction.Chris Heathwood - 2022 - Noûs 56 (1):57-83.
    This paper develops and defends a novel version of a relatively neglected category of theory of the nature of happiness: the desire-satisfaction theory. My account is similar in its fundamentals to Wayne Davis’s theory of happiness-as-subjective-desire-satisfaction. After arguing that this is the best general way to proceed for the desire-based approach, I develop an improved version of subjective desire satisfactionism in light of recent arguments in the happiness literature.
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  9. Well‐Being, Part 2: Theories of Well‐Being.Eden Lin - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (2):e12813.
    Theories of well-being purport to identify the features of lives, and of intervals within lives, in virtue of which some people are high in well-being and others are low in well-being. They also purport to identify the properties that make some events or states of affairs good for a person and other events or states of affairs bad for a person. This article surveys some of the main theories of well-being, with an emphasis on work published since the turn of (...)
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  10. Weakness of Will. The Limitations of Revealed Preference Theory.Aleksander Ostapiuk - 2022 - Acta Oeconomica 1 (72):1-23.
    The phenomenon of weakness of will – not doing what we perceive as the best action – is not recognized by neoclassical economics due to the axiomatic assumptions of the revealed preference theory (RPT) that people do what is best for them. However, present bias shows that people have different preferences over time. As they cannot be compared by the utility measurements, economists need to normatively decide between selves (short- versus long-term preferences). A problem is that neoclassical economists perceive RPT (...)
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  11. Attraction, Aversion, and Asymmetrical Desires.Daniel Pallies - 2022 - Ethics 132 (3):598-620.
    I argue that, insofar as we endorse the general idea that desires play an important role in well-being, we ought to believe that their significance for well-being is derived from a pair of more fundamental attitudes: attraction and aversion. Attraction has wholly positive significance for well-being, and aversion has wholly negative significance for well-being. Desire satisfaction and frustration have significance for well-being insofar as the relevant desires involve some combination of attraction and aversion. I defend these claims by illustrating how (...)
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  12. Happiness and Well-Being.Chris Heathwood - 2021 - Cambridge University Press.
    This Element provides an opinionated introduction to the debate in moral philosophy over identifying the basic elements of well-being and to the related debate over the nature of happiness. The question of the nature of happiness is simply the question of what happiness is, and the central philosophical question about well-being is the question of what things are in themselves of ultimate benefit or harm to a person, or directly make them better or worse off.
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  13. Defending a Hybrid of Objective List and Desire Theories of Well-Being.William Lauinger - 2021 - In Measuring Well-Being: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities. New York, NY, USA: pp. 229 - 256.
    This paper extends previous work of mine on a view of human well-being that is a hybrid of objective-list theories and desire theories. Though some of what I say traverses old ground, much of what I say is new – new, that is, not in terms of ultimate conclusions, but rather in terms of (a) routes toward these ultimate conclusions and (b) certain implications of these ultimate conclusions (e.g., implications concerning the measurement of well-being). There are two different visions of (...)
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  14. Subjectivism Without Idealization and Adaptive Preferences.Stéphane Lemaire - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (1):85-100.
    Subjectivism about well-being holds that an object contributes to one's well-being to the extent that one has a pro-attitude toward this object under certain conditions. Most subjectivists have contended that these conditions should be ideal. One reason in favor of this idea is that when people adapt their pro-attitudes to situations of oppression, the levels of well-being they may attain is diminished. Nevertheless, I first argue that appealing to idealized conditions of autonomy or any other condition to erase or replace (...)
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  15. The Experience Requirement on Well-Being.Eden Lin - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):867-886.
    According to the experience requirement on well-being, differences in subjects’ levels of welfare or well-being require differences in the phenomenology of their experiences. I explain why the two existing arguments for this requirement are not successful. Then, I introduce a more promising argument for it: that unless we accept the requirement, we cannot plausibly explain why only sentient beings are welfare subjects. I argue, however, that because the right kind of theory of well-being can plausibly account for that apparent fact (...)
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  16. Mengzi on Nourishing the Heart by Having Few Desires.David Machek - 2021 - Philosophy East and West 71 (2):393-413.
  17. Empirical Relationships Among Five Types of Well-Being.Seth Margolis, Eric Schwitzgebel, Daniel J. Ozer & Sonja Lyubomirsky - 2021 - In Measuring Well-Being: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities. New York, NY, USA: pp. 339-376.
    Philosophers, psychologists, economists and other social scientists continue to debate the nature of human well-being. We argue that this debate centers around five main conceptualizations of well-being: hedonic well-being, life satisfaction, desire fulfillment, eudaimonia, and non-eudaimonic objective-list well-being. Each type of well-being is conceptually different, but are they empirically distinguishable? To address this question, we first developed and validated a measure of desire fulfillment, as no measure existed, and then examined associations between this new measure and several other well-being measures. (...)
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  18. Well-Being and the Good Death.Stephen M. Campbell - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3):607-623.
    The philosophical literature on well-being and the good life contains very little explicit discussion of what makes for a better or worse death. The purpose of this essay is to highlight some commonly held views about the good death and investigate whether these views are recognized by the leading theories of well-being. While the most widely discussed theories do have implications about what constitutes a good death, they seem unable to fully accommodate these popular good death views. I offer two (...)
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  19. An Opinionated Guide to “What Makes Someone’s Life Go Best”.Chris Heathwood - 2020 - In Andrea Sauchelli (ed.), Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons: An Introduction and Critical Inquiry. Routledge. pp. 94-113.
    Derek Parfit's monumental 1984 book Reasons and Persons contains a little appendix called "What Makes Someone's Life Go Best," a mini-essay on well-being that has taken on a life of its own apart from the body to which it is attached. This paper serves as a critical guide to that appendix. Topics include: the nature of pleasure and pain and its relation to theories of well-being; the unrestricted desire-fulfillment theory and the problem of remote desires; whether a person's actual preferences (...)
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  20. CHOICE: an Objective, Voluntaristic Theory of Prudential Value.Walter Horn - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (1):191-215.
    It is customary to think that Objective List (“OL), Desire-Satisfaction (“D-S”) and Hedonistic (“HED”) theories of prudential value pretty much cover the waterfront, and that those of the three that are “subjective” are naturalistic (in the sense attacked by Moore, Ross and Ewing), while those that are “objective” must be Platonic, Aristotelian or commit the naturalist fallacy. I here argue for a theory that is both naturalistic (because voluntaristic) and objective but neither Platonic, Aristotelian, nor (I hope) fallacious. In addition, (...)
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  21. The Good of Today Depends Not on the Good of Tomorrow: A Constraint on Theories of Well-Being.Owen C. King - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2365-2380.
    This article addresses three questions about well-being. First, is well-being future-sensitive? I.e., can present well-being depend on future events? Second, is well-being recursively dependent? I.e., can present well-being depend on itself? Third, can present and future well-being be interdependent? The third question combines the first two, in the sense that a yes to it is equivalent to yeses to both the first and second. To do justice to the diverse ways we contemplate well-being, I consider our thought and discourse about (...)
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  22. Well-Being as Harmony.Hasko von Kriegstein - 2020 - In David Kaspar (ed.), Explorations in Ethics. pp. 117-140.
    In this paper, I sketch out a novel theory of well-being according to which well-being is constituted by harmony between mind and world. The notion of harmony I develop has three aspects. First there is correspondence between mind and world in the sense that events in the world match the content of our mental states. Second there is positive orientation towards the world, meaning that we have pro-attitudes towards the world we find ourselves in. Third there is fitting response to (...)
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  23. Desire Satisfactionism and Not-So-Satisfying Deserts.Toby Eugene Bollig - 2019 - Southwest Philosophy Review 35 (1):217-227.
    This paper appeals to certain popular doctrines about human welfare and morality to offer a new response to the problem of hell. In particular, I contend that the combination of desire satisfactionism, a subjective theory about welfare, with an objective theory of morality leads to a surprisingly intuitive and compelling argument for the consistency of the post-mortem punishment of people in hell with the existence of an omniperfect God. In fact, under these conditions, the existence of such a divine being (...)
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  24. Asymmetrism and the Magnitudes of Welfare Benefits.Andrew T. Forcehimes - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 15 (2):175-185.
    One vexing question for Desire Satisfactionism is this: At what time do you benefit from a satisfied desire? Recently Eden Lin has proposed an intriguing answer. On this proposal – Asymmetrism – when past-directed desires are satisfied, the time interval during which you benefit is the time of the desire; and, when future-directed desires are satisfied, the time interval during which you benefit is the time of the object. In this essay, I argue that Asymmetrism forces us to give implausible (...)
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  25. Comments on Toby Eugene Bollig’s “Desire Satisfactionism and Not-So-Satisfying Deserts: The Problem of Hell”.Liz Goodnick - 2019 - Southwest Philosophy Review 35 (2):57-59.
  26. Which Desires Are Relevant to Well‐Being?Chris Heathwood - 2019 - Noûs 53 (3):664-688.
    The desire-satisfaction theory of well-being says, in its simplest form, that a person’s level of welfare is determined by the extent to which their desires are satisfied. A question faced by anyone attracted to such a view is, *Which desires*? This paper proposes a new answer to this question by characterizing a distinction among desires that isn’t much discussed in the well-being literature. This is the distinction between what a person wants in a merely behavioral sense, in that the person (...)
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  27. On ‘Hybrid’ Theories of Personal Good.Thomas Hurka - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (4):450-462.
    ‘Hybrid’ theories of personal good, defended by e.g. Parfit, Wolf, and Kagan, equate it, not with a subjective state such as pleasure on its own, nor with an objective state such as knowledge on its own, but with a whole that supposedly combines the two. These theories apply Moore's principle of organic unities, which says the value of a whole needn't equal the sum of the values its parts would have by themselves. This allows them, defenders say, to combine the (...)
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  28. David Sobel, From Valuing to Value: A Defense of Subjectivism , Pp. Vii + 312. [REVIEW]Owen C. King - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (2):203-207.
    This is a review of David Sobel's monograph, From Valuing to Value: A Defense of Subjectivism.
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  29. Why Subjectivists About Welfare Needn't Idealize.Eden Lin - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1):2-23.
    It is commonly thought that subjectivists about welfare must claim that the favorable attitudes whose satisfaction is relevant to your well-being are those that you would have in idealized conditions (e.g. ones in which you are fully informed and rational). I argue that this is false. I introduce a non-idealizing subjectivist view, Same World Subjectivism, that accommodates the two main rationales for idealizing: those given by Peter Railton and David Sobel. I also explain why a recent argument from Dale Dorsey (...)
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  30. What is Good for Spock? A Defense of Attitudinal Hedonism.Isaac Shur - 2019 - Ephemeris 19:46-57.
    Attitudinal Hedonism is a theory of well-being which claims that welfare consists in states of attitudinal pleasure. Fred Feldman characterizes attitudinal pleasure as a state of consciousness similar to attitudes of hope and fear or belief and doubt. He employs the term, enjoyment for the relevant conscious state of attitudinal pleasure and disenjoyment for attitudinal pain. Attitudinal pleasures and pains contrast with sensory pleasures like sex or drugs and sensory pains like cuts or bruises which are felt with the senses (...)
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  31. On Two Interpretations of the Desire-Satisfaction Theory of Prudential Value.Joseph van Weelden - 2019 - Utilitas 31 (2):137-156.
    This article considers two different ways of formulating a desire-satisfaction theory of prudential value. The first version of the theory (the object view) assigns basic prudential value to the state of affairs that is the object of a person’s desire. The second version (the combo view) assigns basic prudential value to the compound state of affairs in which (a) a person desires some state of affairs and (b) this state of affairs obtains. My aims in this article are twofold. First, (...)
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  32. Belief, Desire, and Giving and Asking for Reasons.Donald W. Bruckner & Michael P. Wolf - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (2):275-280.
    We adjudicate a recent dispute concerning the desire theory of well-being. Stock counterexamples to the desire theory include “quirky” desires that seem irrelevant to well-being, such as the desire to count blades of grass. Bruckner claims that such desires are relevant to well-being, provided that the desirer can characterize the object in such a way that makes it clear to others what attracts the desirer to it. Lin claims that merely being attracted to the object of one’s desire should be (...)
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  33. Evolution and Utilitarianism.François Jaquet - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (5):1151-1161.
    Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer have recently provided an evolutionary argument for utilitarianism. They argue that most of our deontological beliefs were shaped by evolution, from which they conclude that these beliefs are unjustified. By contrast, they maintain that the utilitarian belief that everyone’s well-being matters equally is immune to such debunking arguments because it wasn’t similarly influenced. However, Guy Kahane remarks that this belief lacks substantial content unless it is paired with an account of well-being, and he adds (...)
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  34. The Entanglement Problem and Idealization in Moral Philosophy.Olle Risberg - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272):542-559.
    According to many popular views in normative ethics, meta-ethics and axiology, facts about what we ought to do or what is good for us depend on facts about the attitudes that some agent would have in some relevant idealized circumstances. This paper presents an unrecognized structural problem for such views which threatens to be devastating.
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  35. The Disjunctive Hybrid Theory of Prudential Value: An Inclusive Approach to the Good Life.Joseph Van Weelden - 2018 - Dissertation, McGill University
    In this dissertation, I argue that all extant theories of prudential value are either a) enumeratively deficient, in that they are unable to accommodate everything that, intuitively, is a basic constituent of prudential value, b) explanatorily deficient, in that they are at least sometimes unable to offer a plausible story about what makes a given thing prudentially valuable, or c) both. In response to the unsatisfactory state of the literature, I present my own account, the Disjunctive Hybrid Theory or DHT. (...)
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  36. Is Utilitarianism Bad for Women?H. E. Baber - 2017 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 3 (4):1-21.
    Is Utilitarianism Bad for Women? Philosophers and policy-makers concerned with the ethics, economics, and politics of development argue that the phenomenon of ‘adaptive preference’ makes preference-utilitarian measures of well-being untenable. Poor women in the Global South, they suggest, adapt to deprivation and oppression and may come to prefer states of affairs that are not conducive to flourishing. This critique, however, assumes a questionable understanding of preference utilitarianism and, more fundamentally, of the concept of preference that figures in such accounts. If (...)
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  37. Review of David Sobel's From Valuing to Value. [REVIEW]Ben Bramble - 2017 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201705:2017.05.13.
  38. Is Utilitarianism Bad for Women?H. E. Baber - 2017 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 3 (4).
    Open access: Philosophers and policy-makers concerned with the ethics, economics, and politics of development argue that the phenomenon of “adaptive preference” makes preference-utilitarian measures of well-being untenable. Poor women in the Global South, they suggest, adapt to deprivation and oppression and may come to prefer states of affairs that are not conducive to flourishing. This critique, however, assumes a questionable understanding of preference utilitarianism and, more fundamentally, of the concept of preference that figures in such accounts. If well-being is understood (...)
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  39. Désir (Avancé).Federico Lauria - 2017 - Encyclopédie Philosophique.
    Les désirs sont centraux pour agir et être heureux. Qu’est-ce qu’un désir ? En quoi les désirs sont-ils importants ? Dans cette entrée, nous tenterons de mettre les mots sur cette expérience si familière et pourtant négligée par la philosophie contemporaine. (1) En guise de préliminaires, nous délimiterons notre objet d’étude à la lumière des principales distinctions entre les désirs et d’autres états mentaux tels que les croyances et intentions, ainsi qu’à l’aide des distinctions classiques parmi les désirs. (2) Notre (...)
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  40. Asymmetrism About Desire Satisfactionism and Time.Eden Lin - 2017 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, vol. 7. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 161-183.
    Desire-satisfaction theories of welfare must answer the timing question: when do you benefit from the satisfaction of one of your desires? There are three existing views about this: the Time of Desire view, on which you benefit at just those times when you have the desire; the Time of Object view, on which you benefit just when the object of your desire obtains; and Concurrentism, on which you benefit just when you have the desire and its object obtains. This paper (...)
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  41. Against Welfare Subjectivism.Eden Lin - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):354-377.
    Subjectivism about welfare is the view that something is basically good for you if and only if, and to the extent that, you have the right kind of favorable attitude toward it under the right conditions. I make a presumptive case for the falsity of subjectivism by arguing against nearly every extant version of the view. My arguments share a common theme: theories of welfare should be tested for what they imply about newborn infants. Even if a theory is intended (...)
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  42. Enumeration and Explanation in Theories of Welfare.Eden Lin - 2017 - Analysis 77 (1):65-73.
    It has become commonplace to distinguish enumerative theories of welfare, which tell us which things are good for us, from explanatory theories, which tell us why the things that are good for us have that status. It has also been claimed that while hedonism and objective list theories are enumerative but not explanatory, desire satisfactionism is explanatory but not enumerative. In this paper, I argue that this is mistaken. When properly understood, every major theory of welfare is both enumerative and (...)
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  43. The Experience Machine Objection to Desire Satisfactionism.Dan Lowe & Joseph Stenberg - 2017 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (2):247-263.
    It is widely held that the Experience Machine is the basis of a serious objection to Hedonistic theories of welfare. It is also widely held that Desire Satisfactionist theories of welfare can readily avoid problems stemming from the Experience Machine. But in this paper, we argue that if the Experience Machine poses a serious problem for Hedonism, it also poses a serious problem for Desire Satisfactionism. We raise two objections to Desire Satisfactionism, each of which relies on the Experience Machine. (...)
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  44. Desire Satisfaction, Death, and Time.Duncan Purves - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):799-819.
    Desire satisfaction theories of well-being and deprivationism about the badness of death face similar problems: desire satisfaction theories have trouble locating the time when the satisfaction of a future or past-directed desire benefits a person; deprivationism has trouble locating a time when death is bad for a person. I argue that desire satisfaction theorists and deprivation theorists can address their respective timing problems by accepting fusionism, the view that some events benefit or harm individuals only at fusions of moments in (...)
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  45. Depression and the Problem of Absent Desires.Ian Tully - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 11 (2):1-16.
    I argue that consideration of certain cases of severe depression reveals a problem for desire-based theories of welfare. I first show that depression can result in a person losing her desires and then identify a case wherein it seems right to think that, as a result of very severe depression, the individuals described no longer have any desires whatsoever. I argue that the state these people are in is a state of profound ill-being: their lives are going very poorly for (...)
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  46. The Experience Machine.Ben Bramble - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (3):136-145.
    In this paper, I reconstruct Robert Nozick's experience machine objection to hedonism about well-being. I then explain and briefly discuss the most important recent criticisms that have been made of it. Finally, I question the conventional wisdom that the experience machine, while it neatly disposes of hedonism, poses no problem for desire-based theories of well-being.
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  47. Quirky Desires and Well-Being.Donald Bruckner - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (2):1-34.
    According to a desire-satisfaction theory of well-being, the satisfaction of one’s desires is what promotes one’s well-being. Against this, it is frequently objected that some desires are beyond the pale of well-being relevance, for example: the desire to count blades of grass, the desire to collect dryer lint and the desire to make handwritten copies of War and Peace, to name a few. I argue that the satisfaction of such desires – I call them “quirky” desires – does indeed contribute (...)
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  48. The Philosophy of Well-Being: An Introduction.Guy Fletcher - 2016 - Routledge.
    Well-being occupies a central role in ethics and political philosophy, including in major theories such as utilitarianism. It also extends far beyond philosophy: recent studies into the science and psychology of well-being have propelled the topic to centre stage, and governments spend millions on promoting it. We are encouraged to adopt modes of thinking and behaviour that support individual well-being or 'wellness'. What is well-being? Which theories of well-being are most plausible? In this rigorous and comprehensive introduction to the topic, (...)
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  49. The Experience Machine and the Experience Requirement.Jennifer Hawkins - 2016 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. New York, NY, USA: Routledge. pp. 355-365.
    In this article I explore various facets of Nozick’s famous thought experiment involving the experience machine. Nozick’s original target is hedonism—the view that the only intrinsic prudential value is pleasure. But the argument, if successful, undermines any experientialist theory, i.e. any theory that limits intrinsic prudential value to mental states. I first highlight problems arising from the way Nozick sets up the thought experiment. He asks us to imagine choosing whether or not to enter the machine and uses our choice (...)
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  50. Desire-Fulfillment Theory.Chris Heathwood - 2016 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being. Routledge. pp. 135-147.
    Explains the desire-fulfillment theory of well-being, its history, its development, its varieties, its advantages, and its challenges.
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